Today’s article is, essentially, a plea to all Tanzanian “men of good will”, to heed Mwalimu Nyerere’s admonitions contained in his legacy, sermon, which is delivered in his guide book titled “ARGUE, DON’T SHOUT”.
The variety of responses to the Makamba/Kinana letter to me, (which, as readers will probably remember, was an appeal to the ‘Baraza la Viongozi Wakuu Wastaafu wa CCM’, to intervene in their dispute, or conflict, with one Cyprian Musiba; who had raised serious charges against the duo for allegedly having committed the wrongful acts which he specified in his charges). These responses are what moved me to search the archives, looking for Mwalimu Nyerere’s document that he issued way back in 1969, which, according to its sub-title, was “an official guide on foreign policy by the President” (Government Printer, Dar es Salaam). This was because of the additional lessons I believe we can learn from its teachings, still relating to the same Musiba vs Makamba/Kinana conflict.
In my article of last Thursday, I endeavoured to draw attention to similar valuable lessons that we could usefully learn from Mwalimu Nyerere’s other book titled TUJISAHIHISHE; and in particular, his admonition that “yafaa zaidi tufikie maamuzi yetu baada ya kufanya uchunguzi wa kutafuta ukweli” (wa jambo husika). That is to say, the need to establish the truth in the disputed matter concerned; This was in addition to the endeavour to allay fears that the duo had attempted to create through their exaggerated claim that Cyprian Musiba’s “unfounded allegations would pose a danger to the party’s unity, solidarity and tranquility”; a claim which I vigorously disputed, relying on cogent arguments premised on CCM’s history, which demonstrates the party’s proven capability to resolve such internal conflicts successfully and peacefully.
One additional lesson.
In today’s article, I will focus on yet another lesson which, I humbly suggest, we can usefully learn from yet another source of Mwalimu Nyerere’s teachings, namely his book titled “ARGUE, DON’T SHOUT”; in which Mwalimu Nyerere states as follows: “Tanzania has four major policy objectives. First, to guard our freedom and our national independence. Second, to build socialism in our country. Third, to help free Southern Africa from the bondage of colonialism. Four, to promote African Unity. And on top of these, is our obvious interest in the growth and maintenance of world peace based on justice.
“Tanzania has definite viewpoints on foreign affairs. When the need arises to argue in their defense, we have to state firmly what they are, why we have adopted them, and what they mean. We must do this because we want either to influence people, or to have them understand why we have adopted a particular line of action. And for either of these purposes, we have to argue our case convincingly, not just shout about it. It is relevant to remember that when a speaker screams into a microphone, his audience will hear only a babble of unpleasant noises and may not be able to hear what is being said”.
Thereafter. In what is directly relevant to this discussion, Mwalimu Nyerere continues as follows: - “Responding to a disagreement by personal or national abuse, does not help at all. It does not influence our opponents, or even the onlookers, in our favour . . . For, a disagreement is either the result of a genuine conflict of interest or is the result of a misunderstanding. If it is a result of a misunderstanding, shouting will only make it worse; whereas careful, reasoned argument can end the disagreement to the satisfaction of both parties. If, however, there is a genuine conflict, our interest lies in finding out whether an agreed or acceptable settlement is possible. By arguing the case, the essential points on both sides can be recognized, and some accommodation may then be possible”.
“Theology weak, shout”
I may add here that Mwalimu Nyerere was particularly fond of using some catchy stories to buttress his arguments, especially on occasions when the prevailing conditions had put him in the right mood for doing so. I can vividly remember one such occasion, when he told his audience the story of a religious preacher who was reviewing his written sermon that was to be delivered in his church the next morning. At some point, he reached a paragraph whose theological argument appeared to be unconvincing. So, he made a marginal note beside it, to alert himself to that fact, in which he wrote thus: “Theology weak. SHOUT.”
The moral of this story is basically to warn people to avoid “shouting “when they, run out of ideas’ in a given argument.
The relevance of all this to the instant case.
It is my submission that the main lesson to be learnt here in relation to the instant case, is that “responding to a disagreement by personal abuse does not help at all” This is because, in the light of Mwalimu Nyerere’s teaching, shouting “ does not influence your opponents, or even the onlookers” . Furthermore, if your disagreement is a result of a misunderstanding, “ shouting will just make it worse”: and if it is a result of a genuine conflict of interest, and you genuinely want to reach a settlement, it is only through arguing the case “that the essential points can be recognized, and some accommodation may then be possible”.
When this is applied to the case under discussion, the “failure to influence your opponents, or even the onlookers”; is manifestly evidenced by the fact that a number of observers have expressed their concern regarding the abuses and insults which have emerged in the exchanges between, or pronouncements by , some of the actors in the Musiba vs Makamba/Kinana conflict, or dispute.
Those who have expressed “grave concern “include Mr. Nkwazi Mhango, a Tanzanian scholar currently resident in Canada, who posted a statement on his, Mpwayukaji blog’, decrying what he described as the “matusi culture,” which he said he had sadly noticed in connection therewith.
Thus, proceeding under the reasonable presumption that trading insults and abuses such as these, also fall into the category of “shouting” instead of ‘’arguing”; and in the light of the adverse comments that have appeared in the social media platforms, those who did so have obviously “just made matters worse”!
But that is not the only relevant lesson.
Continued reflection over this matter, has brought to my mind another related issue. In my article of last week, I could not refer to all the teachings offered in TUJISAHIHISHE, partly because of limited editorial space. Availability of such space now brings me back to those teachings; and, specifically, to that which Mwalimu Nyerere describes as follows: -“Dalila nyingine ya ubinafsi, ambayo ni ugonjwa mbaya sana, in fitina. Pamoja na kwamba tunayokanuni inayosema kwamba “nitasema kweli daima, fitina kwangu maiko,” lakini bado tunao wanachama ambao ni wafitini wakubwa, bila wao kujitambua. Wengine humuona mwenzao anafanya kosa. Lakini badala ya kumwambia pale pale kijamaa kwamba atendalo ni kosa, watanyamaza kimya, na kuanza kumteta katika vikundi vya siri siri. Hii ni aina moja ya fitina”.
I submit that this is yet another lesson that is well-worth learning, in connection with the case under discussion; in the sense that on one hand, those who deliberately avoided following the prescribed procedures in handling their complaints, “walifanya, kosa”. They needed to be told that what they had done was wrong (as indeed they were told). But on the other hand, those who traded abuses and insults, similarly needed to be told that what they did was wrong!
It is imperative to take note of the closing paragraph of Mwalimu Nyerere’s TUJISAHIHISHE treatise which, in part, reads thus: “Nimetaja makosa machache ambayo yafaa tuyaondoe na kuyaepuka katika Chama chetu ili yatusaidie, siyo katika kuwahukumu wenzetu tu, lakini zaidi katika kujihukumu sisi wenyewe”.
Another dimension which needs to be addressed.
But there has also emerged another dimension in the Musiba vs Makamba/Kinana conflict, that requires some clarification. This is the aspect of there being a link between the said conflict and the forthcoming Presidential election, in which President Magufuli will be seeking reelection.
There are those who have expressed the opinion that the source of the said conflict is “ that there are certain individuals within CCM, who are aspiring to stand against President Magufuli in the forthcoming Presidential elections., and that this conflict is part of a “plan to tame” these individuals and their known supporters” Wowee!.
To the best of my knowledge and understanding; the CCM’s Rules of procedure and practice, plus its established conventions, provide an effective guarantee that President Magufuli will be nominated as the party’s election candidate for the forthcoming Presidential elections.
It may thus be helpful to provide an explanation of the relevant rules which actually provide this guarantee. They are the following: - (i) “Kamati Kuu ya Halmashauri Kuu ya Taifa itapitia sifa za wagombea wote, na kutoa mapendekezo yake ya majina yasiyoozidi matano, kwa Halmashauri Kuu ya Taifa. (ii) Halmashauri Kuu ya Taifa itafikiria na kupiga kura za siri, kupendekeza majina yasiyozidi matatu kwa Mkutano Mkuu wa Taifa wa CCM, kwa ajili ya uteuzi wa mwisho.
(iii) Isipokuwa kwamba, endapo Halmashauri Kuu ya Taifa itapendekeza jina moja tu, Mkutano Mkuu wa Taifa utapiga kura za “Ndiyo” au “Hapana”, kukubali au kukataa jina hilo”.
The said guarantee is contained in Rule (iii) above, which provides for the submission of only one name to the Party Congress for final nomination. Indeed, this has been the established practice over many years, starting with the nomination of President Benjamin Mkapa for the mid-term Presidential election in the year 2000. Three names have been recommended only on occasions when the relevant Presidential election was NOT a mid-term election, as was the case in 1995; 2005; and 2015.
The reasons for this policy.
This policy is basically founded on political pragmatism. It has been CCM’s settled view, that the act of refusing to select an incumbent President to compete in the elections for a (deserved) second five-year term, is equivalent to his dismissal from office. Hence, there must be very transparent, cogent, and compelling reasons, for such a drastic step to be taken. Such reasons would include the following:- His dismal failure to perform his functions and duties, particularly in supervising the implementation of the party’s election manifesto; or his disgracing involvement in corrupt practices, or other scandals; or his loss of the constitutionally stipulated qualifications for the holder of that high office.
Thus, in my considered opinion, in view of President Magufuli’s widely acclaimed sterling performance, plus his unprecedented competence, in managing the affairs of our country and the welfare of its people; any such ideas (of President Magufuli being so overly worried and apprehensive of having to face competition from other CCM candidates), to the absurd extent of his having to stoop so low as to make plans “to tame” his competitors, are mere illusions on the part of the people who propagate them, or a figment of their conspiratorial imagination; presumably being promoted largely for the purpose only of political, mischief-making.’
Source: Daily News and Cde Msekwa himself.